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Archive for June, 2011

  • Sell the audience, not the story

    30th June 11

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in Participation

    Labs were lucky enough to be invited back to Power to the Pixel’s Pixel Lab held at Schwielowsee this week. The attendees – writers, filmmakers and producers among them – spent most of the week intensively workshopping their cross-media projects, punctuated by tutorials and talks from external experts.

    Raising money in a still nascent format is always going to be challenging, so Pixel Lab participants were keen to know how brands and advertisers viewed transmedia storytelling as a platform and what approaches were likely to lead to successful fundraising.

    Using the smart thinking from Metafilter forum user blue_beetle as the starting point I suggested that rather than try and sell a story to a brand, selling the audience might be a more productive approach. This is partly because it’s so noisy out there that a brand needs to work exceptionally hard to cut through with a story and also because increasingly brands see participation (through a variety of mechanics) as a good route to engaging an audience and building brand loyalty.

    It wouldn’t be a Labs talk if we didn’t reference Kevin Kelly, and his ‘Six words for the modern internet‘ made for a useful primer on participation and behaviours. Taking each of the behaviours and looking at campaigns that had shone them through a branded lens I asked whether it was possible to extend the idea of audience as product and ask what they paid with for each form of participation.

    With each of these costs of participating the audience clearly need to be rewarded and this reward will vary with the depth and type of participation. The reward might be a story or another form of transmedia experience but there are other rewards for participation and access and engagement might sometimes be reward enough.

    The full presentation is below – let us know what you think in the comments.



  • Is That All There Is?

    29th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Brands, culture

    Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London

    ‘Is that all there is, is that all there is?
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is.’

    Peggy Lee, image via peggylee.com

    I remember the first time I heard Peggy Lee singing the classic Leiber and Stoller number, ‘Is That All There Is?’. The heroine relates how, through the course of her life, experiences that may initially have been exciting, had in fact turned out rather tiresome. From her home burning down, to going to the circus, to falling in love. It’s a hymn to disappointment and apathy. Like most teenagers I had spent large chunks of my short time on the planet lying in my room being incredibly bored. In amongst the bubble gum pop and dinosaur rock of Radio 1, a song that celebrated ennui was a rare and precious thing.

    I remember the first time I heard the Clash sing ‘I’m So Bored with the USA’. I was simultaneously shocked and excited. Could one really so publicly proclaim disappointment with the home of rock’n'roll, the land of the free, the country that had given us Barry Manilow, Boz Scaggs and The Sound Of Bread? Was that acceptable? Was that legal?

    I remember the first time I saw the painting Ennui by Walter Sickert. The bored couple cannot be bothered to look at each other. One stares into space and the other at the wall. The blank generation. Tedium in oils. And yet so utterly compelling.

    Ennui, by Walter Sickert

    It’s a curious thing. Apathy, boredom and tedium seem such dull, passive, inert qualities. Yet they can be exciting, inspiring, disruptive.

    And I wonder whether this particular truth is lost on us and our world. We claim to be consumer experts. But are we not in denial of the fact that most consumers, most of the time are just not that into our brand or category? They just don’t care. We sustain a myth that the primary communication challenge is lack of attention, when really, more often than not, it’s lack of interest. Read full post

  • Facebook – The End Of The Beginning

    24th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Social

    Network by Dominique K (via Flickr)

    Author: Claire Coady (@claireinclapham), Community Manager, BBH Labs

    Last week Inside Facebook confirmed what we all know: that there are some users who’re just not that into Facebook. It is tempting to read this statistic as the ‘Facebook saturation point’ or the impending demise of social networking, however Facebook losing a fraction of their users is not the real story. The real story is how the average Facebook user is expanding their social portfolio while anchoring their core communications to Facebook through both Open Graph and synchronising their communications with Facebook mobile apps. Social networking is not dying, or even napping. For Facebook, it is just the end of the beginning.

    There’s been a lot of discussion over the type of user leaving and Facebook’s geographic growth making up for it, but we believe the real story in the user statistics is in the broader and deeper engagement of the average Facebook user, both within Facebook and outside of Facebook. It is in the incredible evolution of the typical Facebook user experience, from broadcaster to central communications hub. We all know email or telephone used to be the primary means by which we information transmitted between connections, whereas now we’re increasingly using social networks and instant messaging services.

    Just as women championed personal email use ten year ago, it is women’s use of Facebook that we might look to now to indicate the long term prospects of the platform. In 2000, women were 10% more likely than men to believe that communicating with friends and family over email enhanced their lives. Today, women typically spend more time using Facebook and are more likely than men to say their relationships are better because of Facebook. If the early female championing of email is anything to go by, their devotion can only mean good things for the future of Facebook.

    Alongside the shift in typical Facebook use from broadcast channel to personal communications hub, we know there’s an ongoing explosion in the number and type of social networking platforms. Like television, which first expanded from three to five channels over a period of nearly thirty years before exploding to hundreds of channels offering every kind of content imaginable, the social networking landscape has shifted from a few competing generalist social networks to a plethora of different kinds of social networks catering to a variety of interests. And versus TV, it’s all happening at warp speed. porno film Twenty years ago, accessible satellite television filled a need not only for specialist content we knew we wanted such as music videos, premiership football and cartoons, but also desires we probably did not know we had, such as an entire channels devoted to crime drama and the option of watching the world curling championships at 2 am. Similarly, the most interesting of the new social networks, such as Tumblr, Instagram and Foursquare, are the ones that develop user communities around specialist interests and activities, but also easily connect their users back to their core social support network, i.e. Facebook, Twitter.

    It is both the expansion of the social network landscape and the deepening user experience that best illustrate the future potential of Facebook. To get the real story in the statistics, look not at the fraction who leave, but at the behaviour of those who stay.

  • The future of connected TV (and why it may just revolutionise adland), Part II

    17th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in interactive, technology

    Don at work by abbey*christine, via Flickr

    Author: Matthew Kershaw, Content Director, BBH London

    I talked here yesterday about a near future in which TV advertising would become fully targetted, completely measurable and highly interactive.

    So what are the implications of this prediction for agencies?

    Without getting all Harold Camping on you, here are five things I believe agencies should do to craft the advertising of the future: Read full post

  • The future of connected TV (and why it may just revolutionise adland), Part I

    16th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in interactive, technology

    TV stencil by USB, via Flickr

    Author: Matthew Kershaw (@mattski2000), Content Director, BBH London

    There is a frothy bubble of excitement growing around the future of Connected TV.

    At CES back in January, it was announced that the connected TV category is forecast to ship over 123 million connected TVs  a year by 2014. With overall ownership to reach 1 billion by 2015.

    Just this month,  Philips announced that they have 1 million active Net TV users.

    And all the major players are piling in: Google are still behind Google TV, YouView are finally preparing to launch with the ultimate boss, Lord Sugar, Virgin have just launched their Tivo service, Sony made a commitment early and even Apple are still just about in the game with their AppleTV device. And then there’s Anthony Rose, the genius behind the  BBC iPlayer and ex CTO of YouView, now championing two-screen interaction.

    With all this hype and excitement, you’d think that us ad folk would be talking about nothing else, combining as it does ad land’s two big obsessions: the power of television and the interactivity of the internet.

    So why are we holding back? Read full post

  • Canning It

    16th June 11

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in Cannes

    http://www.vimeo.com/21571373

    With Cannes just a few days away it’s time to wish bon chance to all those striving for Lions. We’ll be keeping our eyes on the progress of all the Young Lions and our fingers crossed for the UK representatives in the Cyber category, BBH London’s Diego Oliveira and Caio Gianella, whose Unicef Wrapping Project is shown above.

  • Life In A Day: Preview Screening & Live Q&A

    14th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Film

    YouTube Preview Image

    Author: Alice Bullimore, Integrated Producer, BBH London

    What would happen if you asked everyone in the world to take a video of their life on the same day?

    Well, it’s happened. The day was July 24th 2010 and people from 120 countries uploaded over 80,000 videos. Life, in a Day.

    The raw footage itself is powerful. As Alexandra Coghlan comments in her great review, “what is perhaps most extraordinary and exciting about this project are its leftovers”,  and on the ‘explore’ tab at youtube.com/lifeinaday the guys at Google have made all this footage available for us to filter and view, the many stories untold.

    But then there’s the film.

    Kevin MacDonald & Ridley Scott at RSA undertook the ambitious curatorial job of creating their story of the world, Joe Walker took on the crazily gargantaun mission of editing.

    Over 4500 hours of footage reviewed, complied and cut into a coherent 90 minute film.

    The film’s not bad either.

    It was well received at Sundance, Berlin and SXSW film festivals, Total Film have given it 4 stars and it currently enjoys a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    But what was it like laying down this challenge?

    What if no-one had entered anything?

    What if most of the crowd sourced footage was unusable?

    With so much footage to go through, how do you choose what story to tell? An individual’s? The world’s? The editors’? Just whose agenda is at work, and what are the implications of a film like this?

    Well, we’re privileged to be able to get a bit closer to some of these answers with a preview screening & live Q&A with the editor, Joe Walker, at BBH in London this wednesday 15th June at 5.00pm.

    If you would like to ask Will and the team a question of your own, we have a limited number of tickets available for you & a friend to join us.

    Please email carrie.murray@bbh-labs.com to get a free pair of tickets. First come first served.

    We look forward to seeing you.

    You can also upload questions for Kevin MacDonald and Life in a Day contributors here, by 2pm UK time *today* in advance of the UK premiere. The film is on national release in Vue cinemas on Thursday.

  • Rethinking non-profits (and other intern inspirations)

    13th June 11

    Posted by Saneel Radia

    Posted in Participation

    The Barn is a 10-week internship program

    Last week kicked off another session of The Barn, BBH NY’s 10-week internship program. The Barn brings in 6 interns, divides them into two teams and has them compete on a 3-word creative brief (last session’s was “Do good, famously” but we can’t tell you this one just yet).

    It’s a fantastic program, run by Heidi Hackemer, Dane Larsen and Jordan Kramer. As I work with my new team (I’m the Advisor for Team Moose*), I’m reminded of how such a program broadens our agency’s thinking as much as it does the interns’.

    My team last session had a fantastic idea to give 4 homeless men a voice via Twitter as part of a project called Underheard. That experience made me fundamentally rethink the role non-profits play in a world where motivated audiences self-organize and work (a theme we’ve discussed before).

    In fact, Underheard showed me the limitations inherent to straight-forward marketing by non-profits. Generally, their missions—and resulting communication—are highly focused. Take, for instance, the mission statements of two of my favorite non-profits here in the US.

    Feeding America: “Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.”

    National Resource Defense Council: “We use law, science and the support of 1.3 million members and online activists to protect the planet’s wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.”

    Both organizations are clear not only in what they want to achieve, but also their means: food banks and legal action, respectively.

    This fairly typical behavior makes it clear and easy for me to engage. Their cause is established. If I choose to support any cause, I’ll do so via an organization that uses the means I believe most effective. So of course a non-profit should outline the micro-actions I can take as a concerned citizen to help, right?

    I’m no longer convinced that’s the only solution. Underheard (not an organization of any kind, to be explicitly clear) was simply a platform for homeless individuals. It didn’t specifically ask people to donate, nor did it edit what happened (when giving homeless individuals a voice, it should be no surprise some of what we heard fell outside of anything an organization would ever endorse). Nonetheless, people regularly contacted the interns to help the four men in ways they deemed best. At one point, someone in Australia paid for 2 transit tickets Albert (one of the four Tweeters) received. Those tickets totaled $200, beyond any reasonable amount Albert could have gathered on his own. Similarly, Danny was offered help to write his story by someone in Wisconsin. This desire to tell his story was something he brought up a few times including at the very outset of being selected for the project. Neither of these were ever explicit requests. In fact, financial help was offered regularly, but no one ever said they’d like to donate generally. Every financial offering was tied to a specific individual and incident. The offer was never $200. It was to pay for those daunting tickets. The offer wasn’t to fund a book; it was to help write it.

    It seems people will determine the appropriate means of contributing if the right system is in place. In this case, the only pieces required were a platform to communicate (pre-paid phones to tweet from) and someone spreading the word. It’s similar to how a free-to-use site like Craigslist can turn commerce upside down via collaborative consumption. Craigslist never set out to extend the life of products or help communities consume more efficiently; it just happened to be the platform on which such consequences transpire.

    All of this opened my mind to a new possibility. Could a non-profit exist simply as a platform for those that may need help with no instructions or systems in place to actually help? Sure, a number of organizations already use social media to push their causes and seek help, but they are generally speaking to existing supporters– and they’re outlining what they need. Could an extremely low-cost platform serve solely as scaffolding to let people connect their own solutions to narratives told by people in need?

    Currently, people in need use the internet to ask for help all the time, but to a very limited audience. Their best-case scenario is having their need adopted by a cause that will help them. But what about all those people that could decide how to help without an organization outlining how? Is there a scalable solution between being a collection of individuals in need and being a formal organization requiring funds to operate? Could a platform that simply makes voices heard but doesn’t actually have an agenda successfully exist? Perhaps it’s a Craigslist-meets-Kickstarter-meets-Twitter for people to tell stories in a culture that is clearly intended to seek assistance, but in no specified fashion. The possibilities seem pleasantly ambiguous and endless.

    Now, that may be the dumbest idea ever. That’s not the point. The point is how much my mind was opened by people with limited resources and experience answering an open-ended brief.

    The point is intern inspiration.

    I can’t wait to see what this new group of interns does. No matter what they do, I’m sure I’ll be inspired in some way. That’s a fantastic investment for any company to make.

    *Follow this summer’s Team Moose interns on Twitter: Jennifer Huang (@jennnifurby), Haywood Watkins III (@4eyesandbowties), and Stephanie Krivitzky (@ihearthummus).

  • Tonight: Kronenbourg 1664 hosts a live Q&A with Suggs from Madness

    6th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Events

    Author: Agathe Guerrier (@agatheg), Strategist, BBH London & BBH Labs

    YouTube Preview Image

    *Tonight at 9pm GMT* we’re happy to say Kronenbourg 1664 is hosting a live event on the brand’s YouTube channel, as part of its Slow the Pace campaign.

    A Q&A with the star of our second commercial in the series, Suggs from Madness, it will be livestreamed from the studios of our partner Absolute Radio. Since Friday, users have been able to submit their questions on the channel via a Google Moderator widget, a tool that was developed a few months ago for YouTube’s own Worldview project (featuring Obama and David Cameron), enabling citizens to quiz world leaders on issues of global governance.

    To our knowledge, no brand has ever done this before. So nous croisons les doigts, as we say in France, until 10ish in the UK.

    Watch the interview here.

    Kronenbourg 1664 YouTube channel

    This campaign is an integrated approach to broadcast and the social web that we’re calling “Super Bowl, Super Social” (check out our post last year about Yeo Valley for a detailed case study). Very simply, we know ktunnel successful brands marry broadcast and participation in ways that add value (utility, entertainment) to people’s lives – the real-time web pushes that a stage further: rewarding brands that provide experiences and content that are bolder, better.

    In the meantime, let’s hope Suggs turns up tonight.

    For more info you’ll find Kronenbourg 1664 in all the usual places: @K1664slow, Kronenbourg 1664 on Facebook, Kronenbourg’s YouTube channel.

  • Hegarty on Advertising: Turning Intelligence Into Magic

    3rd June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Books

    “Do not go gentle into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light”
    ~ Dylan Thomas, quoted in Hegarty in Advertising

    Sir John’s book, “Hegarty on Advertising”, goes on sale on Monday.

    He would be first person to say this is no ‘how-to’ manual, but rather his own story: packed with no holds barred opinion, behind the scenes anecdotes and strongly held principles to work by. There’s no crystal ball gazing, instead a distillation of what he’s learned in 45 years in the business. As such we found it a dose in humility for the here and now: a grip on history that, as ever, sets the future in context.

    Despite his protestation this isn’t a manual, several ideas and themes emerge that have a hell of a lot to teach the rest of us: what makes a successful redtube start-up, the humanization of the workplace, how to approach technology and stay abreast of innovation, the role of difference and ‘creative destruction’, the impact of globalization, why ideas matter and more.

    We asked him to shed a little more light on some of these themes. In doing so, we thought we’d see if we could put one of his most firmly held views to the test; his belief that “words are a barrier to communication”. We have no idea if this is going to work, but here goes – our first interview response without words.

    What do you mean by “creative destruction”?

    “Creativity isn’t an occupation, it’s a pre-occupation” – can you explain what you mean by this?

    If you started an agency today, what would it be like?

    Is there a single piece of work you think defines you?

    Where do you look for inspiration?

    You say the way creative thinking gets deployed “will always be a continually moving target.. to nail your colours to any particular medium or technology will sow the seeds of your destruction”. So how should we engage with technology?

    And, finally, you say you can’t name all the people you’d like to thank, but if there had to be one (okay, perhaps a couple), who would it be?

    Sketches are by Sir John Hegarty

    For more about the book: www.hegartyonadvertising.com

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